Friday, September 25

FrillyFrugalFriday - reprise

I've been a bit slack here haven't I?

I'm not tracking my expenses but I do know what we're spending and it's not alot.  In fact, I'm really proud of the ways we've managed to save ourselves money and improve the quality of what we do..

Farmgate Trail - this is a monthly expedition for us, and although it does take about 3 -4 hour round trip we do make it family time.  The drive is enjoyable and it's wonderful to get 'close to your food' and know where it's coming from.  The fact that it's fresher, lasts longer and is cheaper than local fruit/vege shops and supermarkets makes it all the better.  We also have a much better understanding of seasonal produce.

Being Seasonal
By doing the farmgate trail we've become a lot more savvy about not only understanding what's in season but making the best of seasonal produce.  I've learned to preserve, I've challenged myself to use produce in new ways, it's cheaper when in season obviously and so there's a money saving.  Obviously we were so inspired we decided to dig out a large patch of garden and erect a rotating vegetable garden.  We did winter/autumn one and now we have our seedlings almost ready to transplant for our spring/summer garden. 

Buying in bulk
We buy our meat from the abbatoir whilst on our farmgate trail once a month and this is an enormous saving, we were lucky enough to obtain a 580l upright freezer, and I'm positive the cost of running this is nothing like the savings we make... also I can stock up on bread when on special, this in itself is a huge saving.

Meal Planning
I thought I was going to be SO bored and uninspired but in fact I'm finding it more inspiring because I plan a month ahead.  Prior to our farmgate trail I plan the meals for the month plus a few extras.  I scour my Magazines (so addicted to those SFI's, Recipes+ etc!) and get my inspiration from those and I put the recipes into my meal plan so I'm trying new things on a constant basis.  I can't imagine NOT Meal planning now.  And the best part is getting to the end of the month and having next to no wastage!  It's brilliant.  I also try and be flexible at times when I find a new recipe that I "have" to try...

Well I could do a bit better in this department and although I did cut down my electricity bill this winter by $200 - and given electricity prices have gone up, and I didn't use the dryer at all this winter - it was still $1,200! eeek.  So we've invested in a gas heater recently and I think that will be a huge difference for us next winter.  Started turning more off and the girls are weaned off their lamps to sleep by at night and we're just keeping the hall light on for everyone.  Hopefully down the track we can have one of those plug-in night light things at the wall...  We've also switched every globe to energy efficient.

Phone and internet - well I think we'd be hard pressed to do better than we are there apart from giving up cable TV and I'm not willing to do that, as at this point of our lives it's really our one source of entertainment for all of us.  We don't really go out to the movies etc so I feel it's easy to justify.

Gas, well I think this is going to go up obviously with the gas heater but I think I'll be looking at changing our energy providers again this coming year with the new increases that are happening.  Stay tuned.

Mobile phone - well I've taken myself off a cap pre-paid and now I'm on a 365 plan, I'm hoping that is better use of money.

So that's it in a nutshell! 
What's your best tip for saving money on bills?  Please tell me as I'd love to know!! xx
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